New boss Nigel Adkins says Reading can beat the drop
"Dare to dream" was the message Nigel Adkins gave Reading's players after taking over at the relegation-threatened club today.
ust 67 days after his surprise sacking by Southampton, the 48-year-old has returned to the Barclays Premier League as successor to Brian McDermott - the man that beat him to the npower Championship crown last season.
Adkins has penned a three-year deal at the Madejski Stadium and now has the unenviable task of turning around what looks to be a sinking ship.
Reading are seven points adrift of safety with just eight matches remaining, but the new manager exuded confidence at his unveiling today.
"You have got to have belief," Adkins said. "You have got to dare to dream.
"Can we dare to dream that we're going to win the amount of games that we've got to go and accumulate the points? We've got to.
"What we've got is spirit - that is the big thing that you've always seen here at Reading.
"There is a spirit and camaraderie amongst the players and that is invaluable, especially at the latter stages of a season.
"It will take you a hell of a long way as it was demonstrated last season with the run Reading went on.
"We've got to believe and I know, having spoken with Brian and other people here at Reading, there was a belief that there were games here at the end of the season to go and win. I think that gives us a great start."
The news of McDermott's sacking broke when Adkins was in Germany, where he was spending a week with Bundesliga club Hamburg.
The former Saints boss was initially understood not to have not been interested in the Royals post, with reports suggesting he even turned the job down at one point.
Brighton manager Gus Poyet also rejected the opportunity to replace McDermott and Adkins was keen not to discuss the process that saw him appointed.
"I am the Reading manager so we can talk about discussions that might have gone on previously but we look to the future," said the new Royals boss, who also rejected talk he spoke to Leeds at the weekend.
"I have just been appointed the Reading manager. I am very happy about that and we look forward with positivity and I think that's important."
Adkins, who is joined by assistant Andy Crosby, headed straight to the club's Hogwood Park training base after the press conference as he prepares for a hectic start to life at the helm.
His first home game is a mouth-watering clash with former club Southampton, although this weekend's trip to Arsenal comes first.
"It is quite an interesting challenge because first and foremost we've got to amongst the players," Adkins said.
"Some aren't going to get back until Thursday afternoon and we have a game on Saturday so, hey, it is a great challenge to put all that together.
"It is one I am really looking forward to. I have been out of work for a couple of months and you kick your heels."
Adkins was one of six on the top table at this morning's unveiling, taking centre stage alongside Reading owner Anton Zingarevich.
The Russian has come under criticism for sacking McDermott and failing to adequately strengthen the Royals squad.
However, Zingarevich laid the blame at McDermott's door, highlighting a failure to recruit in the January transfer window.
"What has been tough in the summer is that we didn't have any scouting at all," he said.
"The idea was to bring players in the summer and then do more in January.
"We tried to sign very big players in January but we weren't really successful. I thought we should have done more."
Zingarevich, looking uncomfortable at times, defended the timing of McDermott's sacking and believes Adkins can take the club "to the next level".
He also rejected the notion that the Royals are all but relegated.
"I think we definitely have a good chance [to stay up]," Zingarevich added.
"We are in the Premier League, we have eight games to go, winnable games, so we will do our best and then sit down at the end of the season and decided what we do next."